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During MLG Providence, a rivalry formed between NaNiwa and NesTea. NesTea had previously defeated NaNiwa 2-1 in the BlizzCon 2011 StarCraft II Invitational, but NaNiwa returned the favor, defeating NesTea 2-1 when they met again during the 2011 MLG Global Invitational final. In an interview after that game, NaNiwa commented about a seemingly quick drone pull NesTea made during their 3rd game: "I thought that he would do some smart shit, [...], I thought he was that genius but apparently he's just an idiot. What he did made no sense."[1]. When NesTea heard of these comments he was reportedly very angry and ready to "destroy NaNiwa".[2] Later, when they met in the Championship Winners' Bracket Quarter Final, they both played aggressively, including a 3rd game cannon rush. NaNiwa won the match 2-1, and cameras showed a clearly angry NesTea along with NaNiwa thumbs-downing his opponent as he left his player booth. In twitter posts and a later interview, NaNiwa stated that he was "caught up in the moment" and "didn't mean any disrespect". He also stated: "He showed he is a very smart player, obviously, since he won 3 GSLs. He can't be stupid."[3]

When NaNiwa went back to Korea to participate in the Blizzard Cup, mentioning his rivalry a few times in various interviews, saying "I hope NesTea can stop being angry".[4][5] On the second day of the tournament, when NaNiwa and NesTea were scheduled to play, both players were down 0-3 in their group before playing each other. Since they were both already be out of the tournament, NaNiwa decided to a-move his probes to Nestea's base, where he quickly lost them to the drones.[6] This sparked heavy controversy about NaNiwa's professionalism.[7][8] In addition to this intense amount of drama, NaNiwa's actions caused GOM to revoke his Code S invite for the upcoming season[9], instead granting it to Sen.

The next time the two played each other was at the MLG 2012 Winter Arena, in the losers bracket. NesTea took the first game but NaNiwa came back and won the second game, after holding off some early pool aggression. In the final game NaNiwa successfully read that NesTea would open very economically, and so proxied two gateways, both built on only 9 supply, close to NesTea's base. The Zerg player could not do much against this heavy aggression and NaNiwa had once again knocked NesTea out of a MLG tournament.